What basic tech skill should all small business owners have to manage day-to-day operations?
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Basic Search Commands
It seems simple enough, but a simple task like finding the appropriate answer to your question can take valuable time from your day. Using search operators or filters can really optimize your results and save you lots of time. This is especially useful when starting a business. So take some time and learn a few search commands from your go-to search engine. After all, time is money!
2. Data Mining
Being able to pull data from your systems to evaluate how your operations are functioning is the most important skill. If you don’t track and measure your daily operations, you won’t know until it’s too late that you have a problem. There are ways to automate data mining so that you have a report or summary at the end of the day covering the specific performance measures you want to track.
3. Spreadsheet Software
As a small business owner, knowing how to use spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets is invaluable. With Microsoft’s VBA, you can customize Excel to your needs and use it to automate otherwise time-consuming tasks. It’s also a simple tool to track budgets, expenses and other financial data. It may not be the most impressive skill, but it helps manage day-to-day operations.
4. Instant Messaging
Not only is instant messaging fast, it’s effective. Effective communication is crucial for any business, and instant messaging is a great way to communicate with employees without your messages getting lost in a sea of emails. Now that more millennials are entering the workforce, IMing is often their preferred method of communication, another reason why it’s important to be familiar with it.
5. Your Smartphone
Almost everyone in the world has a smartphone. That is why all of the data collected lately has been showing a shift toward a mobile-dominant society. Keeping up with business operations, industry news and employee communications on the go is vital to your success. Can you imagine not being able to connect to the internet because you don’t remember where the wifi setting is on your phone?
I think the most important tool in every small business owner’s toolkit is their day-to-day bookkeeping tool. For me, it’s Quickbooks. This is extremely helpful to manage and monitor day-to-day expenses, profit margins, weekly spends and cash flow. Quickbooks Online is now cheap, user friendly and offers tutorials and personal help for those who are less tech-savvy than others.
7. Google Analytics
Analyze and make decisions based off of web analytics like Google Analytics and pay-per-click platforms such as AdWords. Understanding web analytics and PPC reporting is critical to having the right knowledge in order to control the direction your business is headed in. It allows you to make critical business decisions based on hard data.
8. Google Drive
It’s important to utilize and understand Google Drive in order to work on projects as a team. Excel and Word docs are important when working alone. However, when working on team projects it’s important that the entire team knows how to utilize Google Docs in order to collaborate and remain on the same page.
9. Basic Coding
Knowing how to code, even if it’s just the basics, can make a big difference to your productivity. Every operating system — even iOS — has automation tools. If you can throw together a quick script, much of the day-to-day grind can be automated, freeing you to focus attention where it’s really needed. If you find yourself doing the same simple task repeatedly, it can probably be automated.
10. Social Media
Marketing through social media works for us. It’s important that all small businesses know how to maximize social media platforms and their marketing advantages. Always be knowledgeable on platform updates and check the trends (hashtags, innovations and new apps) every now and then.
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